Police: Woman told friend 18 months ago she kidnapped Kamiyah

Woman who raised girl ordered held with without bond on kidnapping charge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 51-year-old woman charged with kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley 18 years ago admitted to a friend in the summer of 2015 that she took a baby from a Jacksonville hospital, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit. The document goes on to say the girl, raised as Alexis Manigo, also admitted to a friend about 18 months ago that she was kidnapped as a baby.

Police said Williams posed as a nurse and entered University Medical Center on July 10, 1998, befriended a young mother and walked out with her 8-hours old infant.

After the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children got a tip in August that Kamiyah was alive living under a new name in Walterboro, South Carolina. After a second tip that came in November giving the name of the woman who raised the baby, Jacksonville police traveled to Walterboro to investigate. The teenager's birth certificate and Social Security card on file with Colleton County High School turned out to be fraudulent and a witness told detectives that Alexis Manigo told her she was kidnapped as a baby and knew her birth name was Kamiayah. 

When a DNA swab taken from Manigo earlier this month matched the DNA of Kamiyah, police obtained an arrest warrant last Thursday. At 5 a.m. Friday, Williams on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody.

Williams was extradited to Jacksonville Tuesday and made her first appearance before a Duval County judge Wednesday. She was ordered held without bond on the kidnapping charge and $500,000 bond was set on a charge of interference with custody.

Williams was brought from South Carolina to Jacksonville on Tuesday afternoon. The judge read her and her attorney the charges Wednesday and denied bond. Williams was returned to her cell to await her next court date Feb. 8, when she will likely enter a plea.

ARREST DOCKET: Gloria Boldon Williams

Police said Williams spent hours at the hospital 18 years ago befriending Kamiyah's 16-year-old mother, Shanara Mobley, and pretending to be a nurse. To medical personnel, she posed as a member of Mobley's family. Eight hours after Kamiyah was born, Williams told Mobley she was taking the child for medical treatment, but instead left the hospital with the infant, police said.

A massive search ensued, with helicopters circling the hospital and the city on high alert. Thousands of tips came in over the years, but she was never located.

Williams had been living in Walterboro, South Carolina, with an 18-year-old girl that neighbors believed was Williams' daughter. The girl, who grew up as Alexis Manigo, was actually born Kamiyah Mobley, police announced last week.

When announcing Williams arrest, police said that the now 18-year-old girl "had an inclination" that she might have been kidnapped last year when she learned while applying for jobs and learned that her birth certificate and Social Security card were fraudulent.

Williams was arrested on kidnapping charges and booked into the Colleton County Jail before being transferred Tuesday to Duval County. Alexis and Williams' parents visited Williams at the Colleton County Jail for about 15 minutes Tuesday morning before Jacksonville officers arrived to take Williams to Florida.

Detective Glen Warkentien, who was one of the officers transporting Williams, was one of the original investigators in the missing persons case in 1998. He’s now with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Cold Case Squad. 

Now that she's in the Duval County Jail, Williams will likely have limited phone use and limited visitation, News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said. He insisted that there is nothing special about her treatment and that she will be prosecuted equally and fairly. 

"We're looking at a very high level possibly a capital felony for a kidnapping, so it's a big case," Smith said. "They'll just handle it like they would any other case."

Alexis' biological father, Craig Aiken, told News4Jax Tuesday that he's focused on building a relationship with his daughter and is going to let police and prosecutors handle seeking justice.

Certain factors could influence court case, attorney says

Jacksonville attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters explained the factors that could help Williams' chance of getting a lesser sentence if she is convicted.

Peoples-Waters said the teen will greatly influence the possible sentence of life in prison if Williams is convicted. 

"Kamiyah could also be the person to advocate on behalf of Gloria and say, 'Listen, she treated me so well. This is the only mother I know.' And Kamiyah may be able to have that same influence on her biological parents," Peoples-Waters said. 

Nearly two decades ago, Williams lost a child she'd carried for nine months and had a nervous breakdown, a source close to her family told the I-TEAM. Peoples-Waters said that could also increase the chance of the courts showing leniency. 

Though Williams' positive parenting track record could play a role in the case, Peoples-Waters said, the prosecution still has a duty to uphold the law. 

"That's mitigation for her. However, it does not excuse the offense, and the crime was committed," People-Waters said. "I'm certain the prosecution will take the perspective of, 'We can't let people in society think it's OK to steal other people's children and you raise them to be good people. That we're not going to prosecute those type of crimes.'"

About the Authors:

Lynnsey Gardner is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning investigative reporter and fill-in anchor for The Local Station.